Today we have the lovely Kellie Butler introducing us to her work.
-When and why did you start writing?
I probably started writing when I was a teenager. Instead of keeping a journal (which I could never faithfully do), I wrote stories to vent a lot of emotions or get out ideas that were stuck in my head. I later started writing for my student newspapers in high school and college. I almost majored in journalism.
-What inspired you to write for teenagers and YA?
My series The Laurelhurst Chronicles started as a way for me to purge some recurring nightmares that I’ve had since childhood. I was going to write them as a series of short stories, but I felt that if I had these nightmares then mostly likely some teens and adults had them too. So I decided to write my novel from the point of view of the teenager in my novel and let her be the star rather than the adults. I let her solve the problems rather than the adults solving it for her. Children and teens are extremely intelligent, capable, and resilient.
-Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?
My special character is Lydia Cavert. At the beginning of Night and Day, the first volume in The Laurelhurst Chronicles, she’s a fiery, artistic teenager girl that is evacuated from London in the Second World War. She goes to live with her uncle at her fathers’ family country home up in Lancashire, which triggers nightmares she’s had since she was five. Lydia is the witness to a violent crime when she was a little girl. She’s having to navigate being in a new surrounding without her friends, her parents, an uncle she doesn’t like, and mean girls at school. On top of it, she’s trying to solve whether her uncle and his close friend were involved with the murder she saw as a child. She’s quite timid when the story begins, but as time progresses she blossoms into a confident, outspoken young woman who stands up for others. She likes to have fun though, and she’s loads of fun to write.
-Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?
Oh, that’s a difficult one to answer. Night and Day was my first novel, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I adored writing the relationship between Lydia and Francis, the butler. She doesn’t exactly like him at the onset, but over time they develop a very strong bond. There were times that I cried buckets writing that storyline. It’s probably my favorite one out of the novel.
-For what age group would you recommend your books?
Twelve and above. My books deal with some difficult topics, especially involving abuse and witnessing a violent crime but I try to not be graphic about violence. So many children are witnesses to trauma or experience trauma. As someone who has experienced trauma, I tend to get more into the mental aspect of it, but I try to provide hope and light amongst the darkness. A big question that we all must answer is how do we not become bitter in the face of such dark times, and how do we forgive people that don’t even ask for our forgiveness. Although my novels are set in the 40’s and beyond, they’re timely now. Especially now.
-A review from a reader that made your day…
I keep a review from a Goodreads reviewer pinned on my Twitter page and I look at any time I’m having a difficult day writing or editing. Reviews encourage authors so please let us know if we’re doing well. You have no idea how much it keeps us going.
“Intriguing and suspenseful story from a first-time author for me. Lydia lives well with her parents until war breaks out. Then she’s sent to live with her uncle. It’s definitely not what it seems. Plenty of secrets. Outstanding.”
-Is there a particular author that has inspired you on your journey as a writer?
I have a few and it’s hard to choose one. Daphne du Maurier because I started reading her when I was in junior high. I adore her. Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, and My Cousin Rachel are some of my favorite novels and my work certainly is influenced by her. Harper Lee because she dealt with such a difficult topic (racism) with children and doing it in such beautiful, caring way. Finally, Emlyn Williams. I discovered had a play to premiere in Blackpool and I’ve been reading him ever since.
-What can we expect from you in 2018?
I’m releasing Before the Flood, the second volume in the Laurelhurst Chronicles later this year. It picks up with Lydia and her brother Edward in 1946 as they study in New York. It’s a romance novel but will still have plenty of suspense and more questions as they try to put the past behind them. Plenty of secrets still. I like to think of it as Friends set in the 1940’s but with a bit of Downton.